The Chevrolet badge returns to New Zealand next year on the bonnet of the all-American Camaro sports car and Silverado pick-up truck.
Both vehicles will be converted to right-hand drive by Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) at its new 28,000 square-metre plant in Melbourne.
It’s where HSV will also prepare two versions of the Holden Colorado ute, the Sportscat and better equipped Sportscat+, both based on the top-range Colorado Z71 and developed to challenge the Ford Ranger Wildtrak and upcoming Ranger Raptor.
The Sportscat utes will carry the Holden badge and arrive in NZ first, around next March. A New Zealand company also had a hand in Sportscat. Hamilton operation Pro Form made the special lid for the rear bed.
The Silverado will land here May/June and the Camaro September/October. Both will wear the Chevrolet bow-tie badge and be sold through HSV/Holden dealerships. No prices on either of the three models yet.
HSV will convert the Camaro SS2 coupe, which sits under the premium supercharged ZL1 Camaro in the United States. The ZL1 was considered but eventually ruled out because of the cost of meeting Australian emissions regulations.
The SS2 coupe uses a 6.2-litre direct-injection V8 engine delivering 340kW/615Nm and driving the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters. HSV hopes to offer a manual six-speed option.
The car gets a limited-slip diff and four-piston Brembo brakes front and rear. The 20-inch wheels are wrapped in Goodyear tyres. Inside, the bucket front seats are trimmed in leather, and there’s a nine-speaker Bose audio system.
Although HSV engineers have heavily revised Colorado’s underpinnings to improve the Sportscat’s ride and handling, they have left the 147kW/440-500Nm 2.8-litre Duramax diesel powerplant alone, surprising considering the outfit’s tradition of squeezing more power out of Commodore engines.
HSV chief Tim Jackson said customer feedback showed a go-faster Colorado wasn’t a priority. “The cost/complexity for a relatively minor power increase didn’t make sense,” he said.
“We did a fair bit of consumer research. For our traditional customers, it was power, power, power, but for dual-cabs it was about the overall package. We thought dynamics was an area we could improve.”
The front suspension has been reinforced by a strut brace; there’s an enlarged anti-roll bar and stiffened and raised springs; and multi-valve dampers front and rear. Colorado’s electronic stability control system has also been revised.
SportsCat+ gains an AP Racing brake package with four-piston calipers, 362mm front discs (up 62mm) for what HSV claims is benchmark stopping performance.
The SportsCat+’s rear suspension also features an electro-hydraulic anti-roll bar that decouples in low range to improve wheel articulation. One of the best of all off-roaders, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, uses a similar system.
Silverado will also be available in two 2500HD editions, the LTZ Midnight and the LTZ Custom, both powered by a 6.6-litre Duramax turbo-diesel V8 delivering 323kW/1234Nm. Braked towing capacity is between 3.5 and 6.1 tonnes.